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Raphael was an Italian Renaissance painter who is considered one of the greatest
and most popular artists of all time. He was born Raffaello Santi or Raffaello Sanzio in
Urbino on April 6, 1483. He received his early training in art from his father, the painter,
Giovanni Santi. According to many art historians, he also studied with Timoteo Viti at
Urbino, executing under his influence a number of works of miniaturelike delicacy and
poetic atmosphere, including Apollo and Marsyas and The Knight's Dream. In 1499 he
went to Perugia, in Umbria, and became a student and assistant of the painter Perugino.
Raphael imitated his master closely; their paintings of this period are executed in styles so
similar that art historians have found it difficult to determine which were painted by
Raphael. Among Raphael's independent works executed at Perugia are two large-scale
paintings, the celebrated Sposalizio, or Marriage of the Virgin, and The Crucified Christ
with the Virgin Mary, Saints and Angels.

In 1504 Raphael moved to Florence, where he studied the work of such
established painters of the time as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Fra
Bartolommeo. At this time he made a transition from the typical style of the Umbrian
school, with its emphasis on perspective and rigidly geometrical composition, to a more
animated, informal manner of painting. His development during his Florentine period can
best be traced in his numerous Madonnas. The earliest example, still Umbrian in
inspiration, is the Madonna del Granduca. Later examples, showing the influence of
Leonardo in serenity of expression and composition, include the well-known La Belle
Jardinière and the Madonna of the Goldfinch. The last of his Madonnas executed at
Florence, the Madonna del Baldacchino, a monumental altarpiece, is similar in style to the
work of Fra Bartolommeo. Raphael's most important commissions during his stay in
Florence came from Umbria. His most original composition of this period is the
Entombment of Christ, an altarpiece that nevertheless shows the strong influence of
Michelangelo in the postures and anatomical development of the figures.

In 1508 Raphael was called to Rome by Pope Juliu

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